Here is the pm correspondence between myself and Tim McMichael as requested by PDMilton (Coach Milton pm me with your e-mail address and I will post the PDF file to you).
Emily has a problem with initiating the plant that, in my view, is the cause of her difficulty in initiating swing upon take-off.
She commences the plant by "cocking" ie hyper-flexing her right wrist whilst supporting and turning the pole. The left open hand merely counterbalances this action. Because the pole is at the horizontal at about this time she counters the pole torque by 1.Excessive turn to the left and 2 .Leaning shoulders back by extending the upper spine torso to the rear, as she starts the plant.
Consequently the action of the top grip (LEFT) arm as it moves to the overhead position moves upward and backwards instead of upwards and forward above the hairline to the front of the head. (She covers her left ear whilst the elbow of her left arm is still quite flexed which results in both arms being very unstable at pole impact).
When the contact with the runway by the take-off (right) foot occurs the hands are high but too far back instead of helping the shoulders to travel forward slightly ahead of the toes by mid take-off ground contact.
Despite her take-off foot being positioned perfectly for executing a "free take-off" Emily's inertia during the propulsion phase of the take-off ground contact accelerates her lower torso and pelvis forwards relative to the pole impulse oppositely directed at her hands and with her foot grounded.
Unfortunately I am unable to attach the images I have prepared which makes this clear. I suggest you use the slow motion feature on Emily's latest video on YouTube and watch the plant initiation through the take-off to maximum moment of inertia about the top hand.
If Emily uses a fractionally earlier plant initiation (pole above horizontal) uses the top grip (left) hand to turn the pole in the (right) Pivot hand as it moves slightly forward and upward (rather than right hand trying to hold the pole up counterbalanced by the left hand v grip) and turning side on (to her LEFT) with the trunk she will be in a much more effective front on posture in the take-off.
It is difficult to tell from the videos but I think I detect that Emily is carrying the pole too far laterally on her LEFT side. This also makes plant initiation and control effort large, slow and awkward.
I wish I could get the visuals uploaded to clarify what I'm suggesting.
Your work on the run up and plant with encouraging upspring take-off will get the result you are after.
Sent: Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:57 am
From: Tim McMichael
Yes. Yes. Yes! Something has been bothering me about her plant initiation from the start. I'm kind of shocked I didn't see it for the decisive factor that it is. I think the fact that she is comfortable taking off in the right place blinded me. I do remember taking a hard look at what was bothering me a few months ago and thinking that since her step had come out to where I wanted that I should leave well enough alone and look for other things more urgent to work on. The main one being her swing. Which is why I have been beating my head against a wall for so long. This issue may also be why getting her bottom elbow out of the way has helped. It lets her shoulders go forward more, somewhat mitigating the effects that you describe.
This is made much more difficult by her psychology. She does NOT respond well to specific instructions and freezes up when I give her a discrete element to work on. She only responds to broad generalizations such as...Be taller.....Let the pole fall into the box without weighing on your hands. Any ideas that might help here? I am absolutely sure you have nailed the problem. Now how to correct it......Arrrrrrrrgh!!!!!
Case Study and comparison: Emily and Anika Becker
Sent: Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:09 am
Case sudy Emily https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=992tcZOHuAk
Film source Tim Mc Micheal
I'm probably just pointing out the obvious.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UmKMrtcDbg
Film Source John Gormley
Re: Help Me.
Sent: Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:19 pm
From: Tim McMichael
We worked on simply keeping the bottom hand open and up a little longer and bringing that hand back towards the midline of her body at the start of her run. It worked like magic. She had a little trouble with consistency on her step, but she made 13' from five lefts. That's only 2" under her lifetime best. Thank you so much! You are a life saver!
Re: Help Me.
Sent: Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:17 am
To: Tim McMichael
Well done to both of you.
I am sending the visuals as a PDF file to you later today. I am delighted you have had some success.
I have had a pm from CDMilton to post on your thread what I suggested to you.
If you agree, I would like to simply copy our communications (without the e-mail addresses or personal identity stuff on them) and post them on your Help Me thread.
Since I cannot get my attachments up on PVP I request your permission to send a copy of the visuals PDF file to CDMilton.
I am so pleased for you and Emily and now that you have had some success suggest she will be soon ready to improve her plant initiation even more by having a higher preliminary pole carry with the pole slightly angled slightly to the RIGHT of her midline. From this slight adjustment she will be easily convinced as to how much easier it becomes to plant and arrive at the take-off toe-off position with shoulders over, or slightly in advance of ,the toes. Emily, when this occurs, will have much better horizontal inertia conversion to upwards spring velocity. She will automatically find herself able to swing freely and not experience so much concern with failing the take-off and landing in the box.
Great work Tim.
Re: Help Me.
Sent: Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:33 pm
From: Tim McMichael
Feel free to use any of our correspondence in the Help Me thread. I am so grateful for your help. I'm kicking myself for not taking this to the PvP community earlier. We are working on getting her bottom hand more centered. Even on her worst jumps she is able to swing now and has not mentioned fear of landing in the box since we started focusing on her right hand position. I never cease to be amazed at how these small differences have such a huge impact.Words extracted from the PDF file with the images I sent to Tim.
The illustration above indicates the problem that Emily is having in (a) initiating trail leg swing (b) being held momentarily in lower limb and Pelvic girdle “stasis”. The consequent effect on pole bend and reduction in pole bend penetration is clearly evident. The take-off location, for the grip selected on the pole, is the theoretical ideal! However the take-off dynamic postural change is, due to insufficient horizontal inertia conversion to vertical velocity, less than ideal with the hip /pelvic region advanced forward excessively with respect to the pole grips and the take-off foot ground contact.
These factors are the symptoms of faulty execution in the pole plant. It is necessary therefore to examine the pole plant more closely.
The next illustrations shows the core causal issue for Emily’s problems and insecurity in the early swing phase of pole support.
The pole plant initiation has 3 major technical errors stemming from the first error: (1) the pole angle is much too low to initiate the plant using the pole angular momentum (2) due to 1 the pivot hand is too far in front of the chest and too low (3) the pivot hand is lifting the pole fulcrum upwards (4) the hyper-flexed “cocked” wrist and finger grip of the pivot hand are simultaneously turning the pole about its longitudinal axis.
There is another error occurring prior to the plant initiation giving rise to the execution errors identified. In the first section of her approach run Emily carries the pole primarily in vertical fore aft plane through her left shoulder. The pole “Tip” and the pole shaft should appear to be directed slightly diagonally across her upper body such that the pole tip lies in the vertical fore aft plane projected through her right shoulder. Her left hand and not her right should be responsible for initiating the plant and in turning the pole along its longitudinal axis.
Correcting the problems in the plant initiation will pay big dividends in the final dynamic posture achieved by Emily at toe-off in the culmination of the take-off ground contact. Also it will assist in maintaining more run up generated momentum.
The effects of the plant initiation problems can be seen in backward lean in the upper body, hips advancing further forward than the top grip hand before take-off is completed. In the sequential video frames the consequences for Emily are such that she has (1) 3 video frame delay before initiating the trail leg swing (2) due to closing off the hips to top grip angle the effective swing amplitude is reduced and 3 frames later has commenced flexing at the hips (3) 1 and 2 result in less effective pole chord rotation and an early pole recoil before Emily can invert and cover the pole.
The consequences of Emily’s take-off are to (1) reduction in range of trail leg swing angle (2) closing off of the top arm torso and pole chord angle causes early shift of the primary rotation axis to the hips (3) early arrival into the “shoulder to hip segment achieving the horizontal position parallel to the runway” which occurs above the leading edge of the planting box (scary if there is no swing left to help achieve the completion of inversion and Emily has to rely solely on the POWER (Force / Torque x Velocity/Angular Velocity) of her lower arm “Pull” on the pole!).( Comment on Exemplar sequence stills from Annika Becker Take-off. Thank you Grandevaulter for reminding me of another great "Lefty" vaulter an excellent technical model for Emily to emulate).
Note how Annika rotates about the fore foot yet maintains body alignment without excessive advance of the pelvic-hip area in advance of the shoulders. In the final frame shown the pole has struck the rear wall of the box as indicated by the simultaneous driving of BOTH arms in the opposite direction to her forward and upward momentum.
Annika’s dynamic postural alignment at the instant of take-off:
(1) Optimizes height of her COM at take-off
(2) Increases the potential swing angular range and amplitude (leg length) of the trail leg
(3) Permits the lead leg increased range of hip flexion and thus propulsion range of force application to the COM upwards and thereby increases the angle of projection
(4) Moves the chord of the pole with greater acceleration about the pole tip from a greater pole chord ground angle to the runway
(5) Maintains action line of the take-off net impulse primarily in the fore-aft (sagittal) plane of motion minimizing momentum losses in out of sagittal plane misdirected propulsive forces and torques.
(6) Enables Annika, by means of the greater verticality of her torso, to have a larger range of top grip arm angular range during the trail leg swing before the shoulder advance is decelerated and the primary axis of motion changes from the wrists to the shoulders and hips. It also delays the time at which the “breaking of the hips” occurs and thus can continue to propel the pole chord closer to the plane of the crossbar before maximum pole bend occurs.
This process brings home the importance of not just focusing on the fault/s that occurs which should be understood, in most cases, as presenting symptoms of a preceding cause or causes. Coaching diagnosis is an art relying on experience and acquired visual memories and cognitive understandings from that experience.
Coaching elite and talented athletes in Pole Vault is not for neophytes because it requires empirical knowledge, understanding and the wisdom to search for solutions to problems by looking for answers in the most probable places.
Congratulations to Tim and Emily on making progress!